May 19th and 20th, 2014

Call for Abstracts

Law and Boundaries is an interdisciplinary yearly conference that aims to discuss and propose new perspectives on the challenges the legal discipline is facing regarding its object, its function, its theoretical foundations and its practical outcomes.

We expect scholars from all disciplines to submit their abstracts (250-300 words) before March 14th 2014.   Replies concerning selection will be sent no later than March 20th.

Working papers (max. 7000 words) will be circulated among participants during the conference and should be sent by May 10th.

Thanks to the newly concluded partnership between Law and Boundaries and Global Jurist, a peer-reviewed law journal published by De Gruyter, some of the papers presented will be selected to be published in a special L&B edition of the journal.

We are interested in receiving contributions from graduate students and young scholars that address the following topics:

1 // Devotion and Strategy: legal distinctions and coping mechanisms

Modern legal theory and legal practice are fraught with multiple distinctions and classifications. At least in the European context, we most intuitively think about the divides between public and private law, international and domestic legal orders, or between State and market. Other distinctions pertain to the disciplinary divides such as “law and politics,” or “law and culture”. How are scholars coping with these distinctions? Should we accept them, seek to destabilize them, and if so how, or should we bypass them? What strategies might be adopted in order to escape the ‘law and’ conundrum, when some scholars are praising interdisciplinarity, while others are arguing for the necessary preeminence of stringent disciplinary divisions?

2 // Staging Legal Performances

This stream welcomes contributions that critically analyze law as a ‘performance’. How do the spatial organization and decoration of legal spaces, such as courtrooms, legitimize law and authority? What are the images or symbols that influence, police and unsettle our representations of law? What are the power dynamics that are produced by legal aesthetics? How is law performed outside the courtrooms in nontraditional legal spaces? Another set of questions relates to scholarly legal performance. Here we are interested in contributions which seek to challenge conventional legal representations and which show how the traditional performance of law limits the depth or the scope of legal inquiry.

Among others, we welcome papers in law and literature, art, anthropology, sociology, history and legal theory.

3 // Quantification and (In)efficiency Talk in Law

This panel will address the use of quantitative or empirical tools to resolve or understand legal questions. We are interested in discussing the following themes: how useful are econometrics, statistics, game theory, and other methodologies for the study of legal issues? Do they enrich legal analyses? Or are they too narrow, given the rigid assumptions of economics, and are therefore unable to add value to legal debates? We are also interested in discussing critical approaches to the normative underpinnings of Law & Economics (“L&E”), especially concerning the notion of efficiency. Are there, or could there be alternative applications of efficiency in legal analyses? Can these approaches still be incorporated within the L&E umbrella? Or is the efficiency concept, as understood in mainstream L&E, inseparable from any theoretical inquiry therein?

We welcome quantitative studies coming from various legal disciplines as well as papers dealing with, but not exclusively, the above mentioned theoretical questions.

4 // Social Justice and Property

In this stream we wish to discuss the interactions between the notion of property and the idea of social justice. The concept of ‘property rights’ is central to Western legal thought and underpins many of its key dichotomies such as the private/public and the state/market divides. In this stream we would like to unpack this concept by showing its connections with questions related to social justice. More specifically, we would like to examine some of the pressing contemporary issues such as: access to knowledge, freedom of information, access to medicine or the protection of cultural goods.

Contributions coming from intellectual property law, environmental law, contract law, family law, law and development, human rights law, philosophy and legal history are all welcome.

5 // Pure Law / Pure War?: the politics of war regulation

In its process of legalization and rationalization, war has become an intricate field of rules and regulations in which many regimes, projects and legal mindsets interact. If all of these phenomena do not share the same aim, they nonetheless often concur in thinking about war in a depoliticized manner. In this context, this stream wishes to bring politics back in the foreground of debates about the regulatory framework of war.  Should law address political claims made through collective violence? How so? What are the different strategies and rhetorical moves deployed to advance the rationalization of war through law? How are the myriad of legal regimes that regulate war interacting? How does the legal discourse legitimize certain forms of collective violence, and how are lawyers dealing with this? Does globalization influence the current trends of war legalization?

We particularly welcome contributions coming from international law, human rights, legal history, legal theory, international relations, conflict and terrorism studies, sociology, and political science.

6 // Legal Production of Urban Spaces: power dynamics in global cities

In 1950, Carl Schmitt stated that land appropriation, delimitation and production are the three constituent movements of law. In doing so, he acknowledged the inextricable link between legislation and spatial planning. In this stream, we are interested in discussing the theoretical and empirical analyses of the interactions between law, architecture, urbanism, and communities. What is the role of law in the reproduction of global trends of gentrification, privatization, social segregation, speculative urbanization and reduction of building standards? How could legal and architectural tools become agents of social change? Is the current legal framework capable of offering spaces for alternative and innovative thinking about global cities?

We welcome contributions coming from legal theory, law and urbanism, labor law, immigration law, human rights law, and social geography.

7 //Dirty White Shirts: multiple dimensions of legal activism

In this stream we wish to discuss processes of strategic litigation, legal advocacy, civil disobedience or any other forms of legal activism. What are the elements that constitute a ‘successful’ legal strategy?  What accounts for a ‘failure’? What determines whether the legal language of resistance will be adopted by institutions?

We welcome contributions that discuss concrete cases of strategic adjudication as modes of legal resistance. We invite legal scholars, practitioners and activists to share their experiences and more specifically to offer their perspectives on the challenges they encounter, and the promising features of legal activism.

8 // Legal Bodies: body and its regulations

This stream will analyze the different ways in which legal disciplines are apprehending the notion of ‘body’, its functions, its uses and its abuses. Body is regulated by many regimes, including human rights law, family law, criminal law, as well as property and contract law. The regulation of body is thus offering a different vantage point for evaluating the changes within legal theory, for inquiring into the economic processes law is favoring or for studying the production of the ‘legal’ body, that is the  representations of the body that are translated within law. In this context, we are particularly interested in the following questions: what are the underlying cultural and political representations of the body that permeate the legal field? What is the political economy of the legal body?

We welcome contributions coming from legal history, bioethics, philosophy, sociology, aesthetics, art history and dance theory, family law and property law.